I know someone is a keeper when I find myself laughing my heart out with my head thrown back, when I find myself feeling a thirst for adventures when I’m with this person or simply when I feel comfortable enough to let them see me in my laidback and messy-haired home-y state…
A friend of mine recently asked me, “When did You know we’d be friends forever?”, and I said, “When I found myself feeling like a child again.”
Children aren’t afraid of being embarrassed. I remember one day in kindergarten when my classmate asked the whole lot of us on the table if our belly buttons looked like fruits too. She thought hers looked like a pear! Moments later, all of us had our uniforms lifted above our bellies, having our underpants exposed and comparing belly buttons. I thought mine looked like a mango and my closest friend in Kindergarten, Shu Min, thought hers looked like a strawberry!
Children love discovering the puzzling world around them and would rather find things out by themselves than taking anyone else’s word for it. I remember how my Dad was explaining to my six-year-old self the various mechanisms in a stapler. It got me so excited about stapling something to see it work for myself. I searched high and low for paper but it was as though the paper fairy had hidden all shreds of paper from me, so I settled for the curtain… but my Dad came and stopped me straight away. I lied on the couch and cried for a while before eventually deciding that my finger would be my next best option. That was how I spent the next few days with a throbbing thumb because of holes about a centimetre deep through my thumbnail. What can I say… I just had to experience it for myself.
Be it fruit-shaped belly buttons or stapled thumbs, these are all experiences with which I chart my growth – not so much my age… I wouldn’t remember my year as a seven-year-old if not for my time as a Primary One kid in RGPS, for instance.
As I try to link the characteristics/ tendencies of a child with the characteristics/ tendencies of new friends, I wonder if it is because new friends didn’t know each other as children and as such did not have the chance to discover the puzzling world together, that they feel compelled to take in new experiences together. As opposed to simply filling each other in on things which either party already knew, there’s something so special
about discovering new things together, patenting experiences and calling the discovery ‘their own’.
It’s ‘that thing’ that only the pair of friends understand while leaving others scratching their heads – code words, inside jokes, the list goes on.
It’s ‘that thing’ that will make the pair of friends feel connected to one another.
It’s ‘that thing’ that makes the friendship one of a kind.
I’m not saying adults/ young adults aren’t curious or adventurous; it’s just that I find maturity suffocating to one’s inherent child-like desire to go wild while unravelling and enjoying the bountiful magic that this world has to offer.
I find it to be such a blessing to have been able to find friends who don’t judge me for my quirky self, accept it and even celebrate it.
In the midst of the stress posed by the many expectations and deadlines in our daily activities, it’s truly something to be able to find comfort, solace and the permission to simply loosen one’s knots in the presence of someone so precious.